(MWC) Mobile World Congress 2022 Event Report
(MWC) Mobile World Congress 2022 Event ReportID America Ron Wilburn
Hello, I’m Ron Wilburn from the Japan Branch of ID America. ID America researches the latest technology and trends in the United States, and this time I would like to introduce the event "MWC" held in Los Vegas, USA.
■【What is MWC?】The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is an annual trade show organized by the GSMA and is primarily dedicated to the mobile communications industry. The event is hosted in various locations, including Spain, China, and the United States. This time, I was able to attend the event in the United States, which lasted from September 28th to the 30th. While Japan is still impacted by Covid-19, Nevada has removed most of their restrictions, making for a very lively IT event with many attendees.
The event was co-sponsored by Verizon, which is a large mobile network provider in the United States. Attendees were able to view both presentations and an exhibition floor, which had information on a various number of topics including 5G, IoT, and Web3.
■【The Status of 5G in America】5G is the next generation of 4G, the standard for broadband cellular networks. The technology was release in 2019, and has slowly increased in efficiency and adoption over the past few years. Currently, there are already over a billion 5G connections in the world. By 2025, 25% of mobile connections will be 5G. In terms of efficiency, in the past three years, 5G has increased average download speeds by 3x.
The United States is so large that there are many areas that do not have access to wired internet connections. Home wireless hubs connect directly to 5G and are good alternatives because they require less infrastructural preparation. Home 5G wireless is currently available to over 70 million households in the United States.
■【Current Issues】Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a large transition from office to remote work, which shifted the data usage to new geographic locations. This has created a "Digital Divide" where some people do not have access to high speed internet. Other people are not interested or do not know about 5G; various organizations have been established to address this issue. The federal affordability program is a government program gives low income families money to cover the cost of their internet service. Additionally, AT&T (a mobile service provider) offers a service called "Connected Learning" which helps students with digital learning and digital literacy.
Another issue in the 5G technology is frequency wave availability.
Simply put, the frequency of 5G Wi-Fi can be separated into three spectrums: low-band, mid-band, and high-band. Low-band spectrum has a very good coverage area, however the speed and latency of the 5G network will probably only be incrementally better than what is delivered with 4G networks. Mid-band spectrum provides a good balance of coverage and capacity. Additionally, this spectrum is ideal because many countries around the world have already designated it for 5G. Finally, high-band spectrum delivers super-fast speeds over short distances. While very fast, the spectrum is limited because signals cannot travel very far are also susceptible to interference from things like trees, buildings, and glass.
The issue with 5G spectrum mainly comes from the availability of the mid-band. In the US, a large portion of the band is owned by a government organization called the FCC. Sometimes they auction off parts of the public spectrum to mobile network operators for commercial use, however this is only a very small part of the spectrum. In order for companies to be able to fully incorporate 5G into their services, they require more access to these public wavelengths. This will require cooperation between the government and public companies.
Currently, the US government is planning out spectrum use policies. They are working with public sector companies to identify the wavelengths that are most important to mobile operator providers. The NTIA is the Executive Branch agency that is principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. They are working with the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop a technology called Informing Capability (IIC), which will allow wavelength sharing between the government and public companies.
Another related organization is the CTIA. They are a trade association representing the wireless communications industry in the United States. The organization is currently working with companies on 5G policies over a range of markets including driverless cars, smart farm water monitoring, and smart grid for sustainability.
■【Use Cases】Once 5G technology is fully adopted, the increase in data speed and transfer rates will bring benefits to a wide number of applications, from IoT to general consumer use.
Intrepid Networks and Firstnet are both solutions that have been developed for the US public safety sector. The first is an emergency communication tool and the second is a service that helps deploy broadband networks specifically for public safety services such as firefighters.
The Denver Connector Microtransit Program is a PoC in Colorado that uses driverless vehicles to transport citizens around the city. The solution uses a shared network knowledge to reroute traffic away from schools to avoid congestion and pollution towards children. KaiXr is an education based service, which utilizes 5G to deliver XR content to students during virtual field trips.
■【eSim】Another popular MWC topic was eSim. This is a technology that allows phones to be activated without the need for a physical sim card. In the past 18 months, 60% of world's eSim downloads were in the US. For example, the new iPhone 14 in the US does not have a physical sim port.eSim has many benefits including data roaming, IoT connections, and cost savings. Kore is a company that works with sim technology. Kore Omisim is a service that allows for automatic switching between sim profiles at the sim, device, and cloud level. The solution also includes an eSim validation tool with cloud authentication.
■【The Roadmap to the Metaverse】Metaverse is a hot topic in the United States as well as Japan. However one issue with some current Metaverse solutions is the scale of content size, format, and processing power. The large amount of data being transferred and processed can cause slowdowns and device overheating. In the future, there will be a convergence of devices for split processing infrastructure to reduce the individual load on any given device.
Mawari is a company that offers a decentralized cloud rendering environment and offers 3DXR streaming engine solutions. The company has a case study with AWS Wavelength integration and also performed a PoC with KDDI to create a digital human as a service.
Qualcomm is a company that makes devices and components that work well with XR solutions. Previously, the company worked on AR viewers, which split processing between the goggles and a PC/phone. Currently, currently the company is working towards devices that converge VR, AR, and MR. Qualcomm's strategy is to supply platforms (chipsets), software and hardware reference designs to their customers.
NVIDIA has also been working on Metaverse solutions. The company has released the Omnimerse, which is a computing platform for creating and operating Metaverse applications. NVIDIA has also worked to develop chips for Heavy.ai, which they use to power their digital twin platform.
■【Exhibition Hall】The exhibition hall had many connectivity-related companies. There were a surprising number of hardware devices features (mainly wireless networking related). Additionally, the major mobile wireless providers had the biggest booths.
A number of governments had special pavilion displays to showcase their technological innovation. Korea had a strong Metaverse and Web3 presence.